Sunday, January 15, 2006

Small Press Traffic Poet Jamboree 2006

As I mentioned in a previous post, the first night of fundraising for Small Press Traffic (SPT) was last night. If you can, please go to the other nights. SPT has the admirable goal of helping writers to break all the rules of convention in the creation of art. As we all know, humanity must constantly revisit and recreate art in order for imagination to continue. Without the constant creation of challenging and abstract art, culture can become tiresome and irrelevant.

Now, since poetry is a subset of art, there are times when the poems that you read will not be understandable or will even be downright esoteric. As in life, you never know what you will get: Beauty or Beast.

Beauty in some ways are the accepted forms of poetry. Be it the form of poetry or the linear storytelling. Beast is the avant-garde, the unilluminable, the dark chaos of uncertainty. At least, that is how I can explain the things that I do understand versus the things that I do not understand.

The first play was written by Paolo Javier and performed by Barbara Reyes, Anthem Salgado, Dennis Somera and two others who's names I did not know. The SO stated that the play is part of Paolo's latest book "The Time at the End of This Writing."

I will not pretend to understand the play nor to review it. It was one of those plays that I could not find a discernible thread. To now, the play acts like a puzzle tickling my mind. I would not be averse to buying the book so that I can examine the play. Nevertheless, I thought that the execution of the play was fabulous. Four "reader" come out reading the poems. And what hotties those four were! Kudos to Barb, Anthem, unknown female and Dennis (actually, Dennis joins them later). The readers had a vibrancy to their voices. Nice reading tone. Very exciting. There was something for everyone. (Did I mention that I have this on tape? Maybe we'll have to give an example of this when the server project is up and running.)

The play alternated between one side of the stage to the other. As the three readers stopped, another reader (name unknown) started a soliloquy on the left side of the stage. The difficulty I had was reconciling what was being said on the left versus the right. I wanted to connect them together. Perhaps, I wanted to find the unity. But I could not find it.

Per the verses in the play, they were exquisite. And yes, I know that verses come from poetry. But can I help it that the material sounded like a poem dropped in the middle of a play? Reminds me of those Latin plays with metric rhythm. And there was rhythm in the play by Paolo.

It is one of the injustices of life that we no longer live in a time where verse is used daily. I believe if it were so, the world and people would appreciate poetry more. As it is, I had a difficult time picking out themes from the play. The verses were beautifully patterned. The triumvirate of voices nicely melded together. But, my failing is that my brain is not so quick as to absorb data from the ether.

And so, the first play ended for me with questions and later on revelations about Nietzsche and Nitchske. Whereas one was a philosopher who questioned religion, morals and created an uberman, the other is an example of an uber-linebacker with a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality.

The second play was "The Laureate," which was written by the SO. Whatever I said about actors, I take it back. Remembering your lines and trying not to be blinded by the lights was difficult. I can understand why rehearsals are paramount in such theatrical undertakings. This raises my respect for many Broadway professionals. I can not even imagine doing a scene forty times over just to get the camera angles. Can someone say "Groundhog's Day"?

The "actors/readers" were Rona Fernandez as the Laureate, Dennis Somera as Allegorical, Caroline King as the nefarious Point Blank and yours truly, in my theatrical debut as Blockhead. The play went well with minor distractions. In our defense, memorizing lines can be difficult. Once you forget one set, there goes a whole scene. Improvisation is another matter. You can also forget other things because of the improvisation.

To remember my lines, I tried to structure the play in my head as scenes, but I was not too successful. I just could not get a handle on how fast the time flew as the readers said their lines. I thought that I had a break for five minutes. Next thing you know, I'm on stage again. Whew! That was a challenge. It's a good thing that the SO did not give me too many lines. She's very SMARTO! (Point to your heads please!)

Overall, the play was great. It allowed my family to come together. Since it occurred on my brother's birthday, he came up and my sister and her husband also came to watch. I was glad to hear that some of the play went over their heads. I was not alone.

My family went to a Chinese restaurant after the play to celebrate, along with the laureate and her SO. I believe we went to Eliza Restaurant somewhere in Sf near 18th St. Thanks for the tip Rona.


Rona Fernandez said...

No problem for the tip on the restaurant. I hope you guys liked it! We had a great time with y'all. Thanks for including us in your family gathering. Peace, Rona

Randy said...

Congrats on your performance, Rhett! When it comes to memorizing lines, I don't so much memorize them as opposed to understanding what my character needs to accomplish in order to move forward the story. If the play is written & directed well, then the most logical and efficient way to move the story along are performing the lines and the actions you've rehearsed. So acting is no longer about following a set track; it's about a thinking process and making logical choices for your character.

Gura said...

Paolo's play I believe is from his other book, "60lo(v)e bombs"